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The Korean Cuisine Staple Now Catching On In Western Markets

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- A classic staple Korean dish is surging in popularity across the U.S. - this as many consumers are discovering Kimchi's health benefits.

For years, Scott Ervin has baked bread in his kitchen. Now he's learning to master something new - the Korean dish of kimchi.

He likes it not just for the taste but also the health benefits of the food's fermented vegetables.

"Which is good for your gut. I learned that it's high in antioxidants," said Ervin.

Kimchi has long been a fixture in Korean cuisine but it's now catching on in western markets.

Foodies are fast discovering the salty, pickled dish made mainly of Korean radishes and Napa cabbage.

Cosmos foods is the largest kimchi maker in the U.S., distributing hand packed jars from their southern California factory. While their products were once only found in Asian grocery stores - they are now being stocked in a number of mainstream retailers including Costco and Trader Joe's.

Anthony Simmons said sales are skyrocketing - up 25 percent over each of the past two years.

"And I think this year we're also looking at maybe 25, maybe 30 percent more than last year," said Simmons.

Scott says he is always looking for new ways to enjoy his own - homemade kimchi.

"I'll usually put it on a sandwich, like a grilled cheese sandwich or something like that…and it kicks it right up, it really makes it interesting," said Scott.

It is a Western twist for an eastern food favorite.

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